Review: “The Tank” by Nicola Lombardi

Hello Addicts,

Imagine you live in a world where any crime, from murder to having a difference of political opinion, is cause enough for lifetime incarceration?  The governments which come to mind probably are Nazis, communists, and, to some people, the United States’ current political climate.   Dystopian stories are some of the scariest ones you can read.  True, there may not be blood, gore, monsters, or jump scares like the traditional horror stories utilize, but they deal with people as the monsters.  People so desperate for relief from red tape, corruption, and chaos that they are willing to give up freedom to feel safe and in control.

the-tank“The Tank” by Nicola Lombardi tackles the dystopian story very well and in a pretty believable manner.  It is the future, and a military coup has placed the New Moral Order (NMO) in charge.  When is person is convicted of a crime against the NMO, they are delivered to one of nine Tanks for storage.  The Tanks look fundamentally like grain silos, however there are no cells inside.  The “guests”, as the training manual refers to the prisoners, are tossed into the main cylinder of the building and left to suffocate and rot among the other prisoners.  Those who survive the landing struggle to survive as refuse until a quarterly Cleaning, which involves acid, occurs.

Giovanni Corte is named the Keeper of Tank 9, one of the more sought after positions.  For enough money to relocate to an island with no more worries, he sacrifices one year of his life to run the facility.  Spending a year with little to no human interaction, save for the brief daily prisoner deliveries, plays on a person’s mind.  Before long, paranoia begins to rear its ugly head, which only gets worse when he finds a diary possibly left for him by the previous Keeper.  In that are mentions of spirits roaming the halls in revenge for being tossed into the Tank.  Things only get worse for Giovanni as the story progresses.

I thought the story was well told and you got pulled into the story pretty well.  There are a few spots where you notice that the translation from Italian didn’t work out as smoothly, but overall, I really enjoyed this book.  If dystopian stories are your cup of tea, definitely check this one out.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Book Review Car Nex: Demon SQUASH! (A One Hour Special) by Tim Miller

Hello, Addicts!

This week I take a look at the book that takes a not so serious look at one of the few reality television shows I enjoy: Ghost Hunting shows.  This one follows Simon Smoke, the host of one such show named SQUASH!.  On its fifth season, the ratings aren’t doing well at all.  In order to keep the show from being canceled, Simon takes his video crew to the small town of Pleasant Storm, TX on the fiftieth anniversary of a blood bath that decimated the town.  Blamed on the Car Nex, or Carnivore Nextdoor, the team doesn’t hold much hope of seeing a return of the beast.  By the end of the night, they will have wished they were right.car-nex

I found this story to be a fun little tale told in a less than serious manner, which I’m sure the author fully intended.  As a passing the time sort of story, this one delivers pretty solidly.  If you prefer your horror less tongue in cheek and more serious, then this story may not be for you.  All in all, I recommend this story in the Car Nex universe to people looking for a little light horror.

Until next time Addicts,

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel – The Philip Experiment

Hello Addicts,

We’ve all heard theories on what ghosts are.  Generally speaking, they are viewed as either spirits of dead people, remnants of energy stuck in a constant loop, or demons sent to torment us.  In the 1970’s, an experiment was conducted that showed another way to view ghosts, as literal creations of our minds.

In 1972, a group of scientists gathered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with the premise of creating a ghost through intense concentration.  They came up with an intricate back story for the ghost, which included some details of his death, and gave him the name Philip Aylesford.  For weeks, nothing happened.  Eventually, they decided to try recreating the atmosphere of a classic spiritualist séance, much like the ones attended by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his wife.  In these séances, the scientists surrounded themselves with items from Philip’s era, along with photographs of the kind of castle they imagined he’d live in.  A few more weeks passed without any success, and then it happened.  Philip communicated with the scientists.

philip-experiment

It began simple.  The scientists would ask questions about the history created for the spirit, and the ghost responded using a series of knocks and raspy whispers to confirm his identity.  After that, the phenomena increased with each session in ways not easily explained by science.  Philip would slide the table from side to side and was known to chase people with it from time to time.  In each case, the scientists claim that no one was touching the table at the time.  In the end, the group was unable to conclusively prove whether Philip was their creation, or some other entity portraying the character they expected to find.

The existence of ghosts tends to be a more personal experience and belief.  They may be spirits of the deceased, creations of our own minds, or a figment of our imaginations. The only true variable is who you ask.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel — The Goatman

NightmareFuel

Hello Addicts,

For this week’s Nightmare Fuel, we take a look at another popular cryptid legend.  Our destination is Beltsville, MD for the legendary Goatman.

When one thinks of someone being a Goatman, they may think of a character portrayed by comedian Jim Breuer on Saturday Night Live.  Another thought is of the famed satyrs from Greek and Shakespearean mythology, such as Pan.  While these appearances are close to the descriptions given of the cryptid, they differ in two distinct ways.  The first being that, while the creature has the body of a man and the hindquarters of a goat, it also possesses a goat’s head instead of a human one.  Also, while the versions from the mythology and SNL want to make people laugh or play pranks on us mortals, the creature in Beltsville, MD has been reported as wielding an axe.

There are different versions of Goatman’s origins.  Some involve brokering a deal with the Devil or the creature being born that way and living life as a hermit in the woods, attacking those who wander into his domain at night.  His favorite haunts in the latter legend includes a local lover’s lane.  Other, more modern legends have the creature being the result of early DNA experiments, always with the end result of the scientist mutating into the beast.

the goatman

The reports of the infamous creature are not just limited to Maryland, with other sightings occurring in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Florida, Washington, and Ontario, Canada.  One story from 1962 depicted the Goatman hacking fourteen people to bits because they wandered too close to his lair.  According to unidentified witnesses, it emitted sounds only the “devil himself” would make.  When authorities arrived on the scene, they found partially eaten limbs and a blood trail that led to a cave.  No official written police reports of the incident are said to exist.

The Goatman may be just an urban legend; however, this doesn’t seem to keep people from continuously reporting sightings of the creature.  It may also be people wanting to keep the story alive to frighten future generations.  The only advice I can offer to you is, if you are wandering near an ominous looking cave near a rusted old bridge and hear terrible noises, make your way further from the bridge.  It may allow you to live just a little longer.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel — Baron Samedi

Hello Addicts,

This week’s Nightmare Fuel takes us down to the bayous of Louisiana to visit a bit of voodoo royalty.  I am speaking of one of the more widely known loas, or spirits, of voodoo, Baron Samedi.

Dressed in a black tail coat, top hat, dark glasses, and cotton plugging his nostrils and a face painted white like a skull, Baron Samedi is responsible for digging the graves for the dead and welcoming them to the afterlife after they are buried. He is a married man, but it doesn’t stop him from chasing mortal women, swear continuously, tell filthy jokes to fellow spirits, and behave otherwise outrageously.  Rarely is this loa seen without a glass of rum in his hand or a cigar to puff on.  And, although he is known for death and sickness, many people offer entreaties with the hope of their loved one being denied for death and be healed instead.baron_samedi

Baron Samedi’s likeness can be found in many forms, such as in “The Princess and the Frog”, “Live and Let Die”, and even in WWE wrestling programs from the 1990’s.  If you do run across someone dressed as the Baron, offer him a cigar or a glass of rum. You never know if it will be the real one, and he may grant you more time on Earth for you generosity.

Until next time Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel — The Wendigo

NightmareFuel

Hello Addicts,

This week we take a peek into one of the more famous legends of the Algonquin tribe, the Wendigo.

Wendigo-beastThe Wendigo, or Windigo in some translations, is a tale prevalent in the Northern United States and Canada.  It is viewed by some as a demonic spirit capable of either possessing a human or taking the form of one.  Other legends claim that people are cursed to become the creature by the simple tasting of human flesh.  The latter version of the legend depicts the creature as over fifteen feet tall and gaunt with deeply sunken glowing eyes, an overly long tongue, yellowed fangs, and yellowing skin, either in the process of decay or covered in fur.  They are almost impossibly thin with an unending hunger for human flesh.  There are also some who claim that the creature is so thin that you can only see it when you are looking at it directly in the face.  It is believed that to become one of these creatures is so terrible, you are better off killing yourself than to resort to cannibalism, even when your survival depends on it.

These tales are commonplace in locations where a combination of food scarcity and long harshly cold winters make survival a dire challenge.  There are even some reported cases where people with access to ample food supplies become so overwhelmed with desire for human flesh, they will kill their own family for it.  These cases are what psychologists refer to as “Wendigo Psychosis”.

Sightings of the beast still occur to this day, mostly in the northern Minnesota plains and in Canada.  Some see it as a simple superstition or warning to dissuade people from the practice of cannibalism.  Others say that the creature lives on; killing any it comes across.  For those of you enjoying a campout this summer, be careful when wandering in the woods, lest you become the Wendigo’s next meal.

Until next time Addicts…

Nightmare Fuel – The Slender Man

NightmareFuel

Hello Addicts,

The entity known as The Slender Man has become a major part of our mainstream consciousness, thanks in large part to the various video games, stories, and news reports involving him.  This week, we look at the possibility that The Slender Man legend may be much older than originally believed.

For those who do not know, The Slender Man is a tall being with exceedingly long, branch like arms and legs.  He wears an all black suit and has been sometimes described as having tentacles sprouting from his back.  He has no face to speak of, although some stories say that he may be able to change his visage into whatever you fear the most.  Some stories also grant him the ability to imitate voices.  According to the stories, he stalks his prey by toying with their minds before revealing himself and moving in for the kill.  Although his motives and specific victim preference are never clearly defined, the stories usually depict him tormenting children.

The modern legend of The Slender Man is attributed to a creation of Creepy Pasta and/or the Something Awful websites.  There are other sources who trace the idea even further back, possibly as far as 16th Century Eastern Europe.  Two woodcut carvings from that era were discovered in the 1800’s depicting a being known as Der Grossman, or “tall man”.  The legend goes that misbehaving children would encounter Der Grossman days before they disappeared forever.  Any attempts to stop him through violent means meant retribution against the tenants of the nearest town, including impalement of the townsfolk with the darkest hearts upon tree branches.

What is also interesting to notes is that the artist who created the carvings, Hans Freckenberg, was known for his accuracy in depicting human anatomy.  Der Grossman did not resemble any of the characters used in his other artwork.  Adding to the eeriness is that Freckenberg vanished shortly after completing the pieces.

There are other stories of people encountering the creature we’ve come to know as The Slender Man, but I’m saving some of those for another episode.  Until next time, Addicts…